Susannah Taylor: The truth about supplements
Many of us knock back a cocktail of supplements every day in the hope they will future-proof our bodies, fix our ailments, improve our mood, help us sleep or touch our toes. But how do you know what you need, and if you are taking the right amount to make a difference? And is it OK to take them all together? Indeed, do you know whether or not your supplements actually work?
Personally, I am careful about the vitamins I take and sceptical of brands promising me a bionic body or sharper brain. I’m also wary of celebrities and influencers promoting their own brands. Why? Because the supplement industry is vastly unregulated, which means a product may not be exactly what it says on the tin.
However, as much as we all want to eat the perfect diet, our busy lives sometimes don’t allow it, something that surgeon and medic Dr Geoff Mullan fully understands. On a mission to improve our health, he started Humanpeople (humanpeople.co), a state-of-the-art personalised service set to take the guesswork out of taking supplements. He says it’s a fact that people aren’t taking the correct amount and that millions are spent every year on ones we don’t need because we are swayed by fancy packaging and false promises.
Working with a team of doctors, revered functional nutritionist Christine Bailey, and using the latest diagnostic technology, combined with top medical research, Dr Mullan has created a highly accurate next-generation home health assessment tool. It works like this: you fill in an online health questionnaire covering everything from your weight and size to diet, bathroom habits, sleep, stress levels, mood and medication. Humanpeople then sends you a blood test (£159 as a one-off fee). Together, this then gives an in-depth, science-backed report of your deficiencies, so the exact supplements you need can be prescribed.
Dr Mullan says that it’s vital to give people a supplement at the correct strength according to their bloods, weight and build – ‘not a one-size-fits-all approach’.
All of this is added to your confidential dashboard on the Humanpeople website and your bespoke supplement package is delivered to you monthly (from £35 a month). Dr Mullan has cut no corners in the creation of the business and the company’s testing processes are regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
If your tests indicate you have imbalances in your gut, your microbiome can be checked, as can your DNA, which is where things get really fascinating.
Dr Mullan has partnered with leading genetic analysis company Atlas Biomed, which offers a highly detailed report on how your genes could be affecting your health. Using nutrigenomics (the science of how food can influence your genes) Humanpeople can recommend foods and supplements that have a positive effect on your genes. ‘I have one of the genes that can increase my risk of Alzheimer’s,’ Dr Mullan says, ‘so I have tweaked my diet.’
He also tells me that, while we are living longer, the average age for a chronic illness is 62. He thinks that’s too young and is hopeful he’s come up with a way for us all to live longer, healthier lives.
I’m Running on clouds
I have recently been testing the Cloudflow trainer, £130, from on-running.com. Its ‘multi-directional’ cushioning means it adapts to everyone’s foot strike. Science aside, they are some of the comfiest, softest and lightest (cloud-like, I guess!) trainers I’ve ever worn.
I want to plan with the planets?
The Magic of I Astrological Planner (£37, uk.magicofi.com) would make a great present for the spiritual person in your life. For beginners and advanced astrologers, use the planner as a beautiful journal for 2022 or learn more about the moon and how the planets affect our daily life.